Director of gender-roles council denies scrubbing article

The head of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood said a computer glitch was responsible for a broken link to an article whose absence attracted attention on social media.

By Bob Allen

The head of an organization that advocates wifely submission in the church and home denies removing a web page containing an article being compared to Mormonism.

Julie Ann Smith, who writes for a blog on spiritual abuse called Spiritual Sounding Board, commented briefly March 12 on an article posted by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood arguing that marital roles of headship and submission do not cease at death but continue in heaven.

Smith compared the view to the Mormon doctrine of celestial marriage, a ceremony conducted in a Mormon temple for a marriage intended to last beyond the grave and through eternity.

“I’m not sure all ladies will be looking forward to a heaven where women submit to all men,” she quipped. “If what CBMW says is true, I’d rather be a Mormon. At least if you’re Mormon, you get your own planet.”

Two days later she reported trying to access the article and instead finding a message: “Looks like the page you were looking for does not exist. Sorry about that.”

“Congratulations, friends!” Smith commented March 14. “The last blog article, Is the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Drinking Mormon-Flavored Koolaid?, created a lot of cyber uproar. Many public people passed it around on Facebook and Twitter, some wrote their own articles about it, and now it appears that the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) has removed the article.”

The Wartburg Watch, a blog that follows what organizers regard as bad theology in Baptist life, asked March 14 why the council would “Driscollize” its article, referring to an earlier post about Mars Hill Church in Seattle allegedly scrubbing web pages after Pastor Mark Driscoll was accused of inflating sales of a book to get it on the New York Times best-seller list.

owen strachanOwen Strachan, executive director of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, said in a Patheos blog March 20 that he doesn’t know what happened to the recent re-posting of an article that originally appeared in the Journal on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood in 2006.

“To be honest, in full disclosure, I’m not sure why the HTML version of the article went offline,” Strahan said. “Website editors know that small technical glitches are no respecter of persons and know no theological bounds.”

Strachan said it’s inaccurate to say the article was “taken down,” because it still appears in PDF form in the magazine archives.

“The article has appeared on our site for years and is still posted there now,” he said. “If CBMW had taken the article down — which was plainly not the case — we would have simultaneously pulled the 2006 PDF of the journal in which the article appeared. We did no such thing, and have no reason to do so.”

Strahan said he assumed attention to the article in social media would subside, but he decided to set the record straight after ABPnews/Herald carried a story about it March 19. Strachan complained about the story in an email that day, but indicated it was a private message and not intended for the public.

The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s office is located on the campus of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Supporters include Southern Baptist Convention leaders like Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler and Russell Moore, head of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

The group’s core beliefs are detailed in the Danvers Statement, drafted by evangelical leaders in Danvers, Mass., in 1988.

Affirmations include “wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands’ leadership” and “some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men.”

The statement blames “feminist egalitarianism” for “widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture regarding the complementary differences between masculinity and femininity.” It further claims that “roles for men and women in church leadership that do not conform to Biblical teaching … backfire in the crippling of Biblically faithful witness.”

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